Why Audio Purists Dislike Pre-Amps And Why Audion Doesn't Make A Traditional Preamp
The biggest problem with traditional pre-amps is they use gain stages to operate. More gain stages mean even more distortion. More signal degradation. More signal pollution before it reaches the amplifier.
A typical pre-amp can have as many as 4, 6, 10 or more gain stages. Many use input transformers, balance transformers, even output transformers to work properly.
Introducing Active Tube Unity Gain buffers that are found within all Audion pre-amps.
Instead of a gain stage pre-amplifier that can provide 3-15dB gain, Audion uses its unity gain stages to boost the low level signal and attenuate the high level signal (known as buffering). The result is a perfect impedance match for any amplifier and any input component.
Active Tube Unity Gain works for both output and input.
Many audiophiles are hung up on how much voltage it takes to drive an amp to full potential. More importantly amps require a proper impedance match to achieve full potential. Improper impedances, whether too high or too low, mean you will need more voltage to allow the amp to reach full potential. This is also critical on the inputs. Audion pre-amp provide proper matching for the input devices so those devices perform to their potential.
All the dynamics and sparkle are there without the penalty of added distortion.
Measured at the tape output, an Audion Preamps puts out up to 2V with perfect impedance. Usually careful system matching simply means matching impedances a unit is expecting to see to reach full potential. With Audion its automatic.
Audion pre-amps being active an active stage it makes matching your separates easier.
Lets say you have a CD player that puts out the average 2v into the preamp. Once the Audion equalizes the voltage/impedance it achieves a perfectly balanced level into your power amplifier.
Now, lets take a low level MM moving magnet Phono stage that only delivers 1.4 volts: an Audion Pre-amp will buffer and equalize then balance the output so the a balanced signal is reaching your power amplifier. If you are using the line/phono stage and you have a low level MC cartridge the Audion will amplify, RIAA correct and output this tiny signal to the correct level your power amplifier wants to see.
Audion pre-amps mean less is more and shorter signal paths equal optimum sound.
Most all knowledgeable audiophiles and designers know the shorter the signal path the better. Utilizing as short a signal path as possible creates the best dynamics and gives as much headroom as possible.
Buffer stages do this by allowing the pre-amp to truly control the signals. We avoid the use of both input and output transformers. They are effectively miles of wire the signal has to travel through unnecessarily. Input and output transformers, even interstage transformers or transformer volume controls are passive components in a pre-amplifier. Despite current hype they only degrade and move the tiny signal out of phase and create time delays.
So how does an Audion Pre-amp amplify?
Our pre-amps use active stages, the first thing the delicate signals normally see is a tube's cathode.
A tube has miniscule time delay and phase shift as the signal is travelling through a vacuum and in general probably only an inch or so across the tubes interior.
Some say the best pre-amp is no pre-amp at all.
An excellent concept and one of the reasons all Audion amplifiers have a volume control.
What if I have a Bluray, or an iPod, or Turntable, what if I have all of these?
Our Premier range of pre-amps work to give all of these inputs the same level output. So when you switch between sources you don't get the huge differences that usually occur. You may get a small difference, but what you will get is tight sounding, fast and full music from your amp.
We try and make our products as transparent as possible, however many people tell us that by using one of our active pre-amps that their soundstage gets bigger, or the blacks are just a little blacker, the sound seems fuller. With Audion, its all about getting out of the way of the music and letting it flow smoothly, unadulterated and pure, the way the artist intended it to be heard.
Rocket science, No, - simple, honest and straight forward, without the audiophile voodoo mumbo jumbo, that salesmen like to give. The same today as we have always been, and true to our morals, to provide affordable esoteric hi-end hi-fi.
Graeme Holland / Gary Alpern
We've heard some competing dealers are using this article to say Audion preamp do not have gain so they can scare customers into buying something else. Audion pre-amps have a tremendous amount of gain. What they don't have is typical distortion and parasitic gain. Rather than listening to urban legends we encourage you to listen with your ears and hear the pre-amps for yourself.